"Waiting for the Ice to Melt" Gala to Open Arctic Diary Exhibition February 16

For Immediate Release

January 31, 2002

Celebrate the opening of the Clark Art Institute's exhibition Arctic Diary: Paintings and Photographs by William Bradford with a gala reception on Saturday, February 16, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Highlights of the  "Waiting for the Ice to Melt" party include Arctic-inspired cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, musical entertainment, and icy décor reflecting the exhibition's images of glaciers, icebergs, and snowy seascapes. Party-goers are encouraged to wear ice blue or snow white attire. Tickets are $40 ($30 for members). Reservations are required. To order tickets, call 413-458-2303, extension 324.

The Arctic atmosphere begins outside the entrance with a (nearly) life-sized igloo. The Clark courtyard will be transformed into a wintry wonderland with ice-blue lighting, frigid flower arrangements by Rita Watson, and Nordic images projected on the walls accompanied by the sounds of Ralph Vaughn Williams' "Sinfonia Antartica." At the Ice Bar-a six foot long bar made of ice, provided by the Cape Pond Ice Company of Gloucester-guests will watch such as frosty drinks the "Arctic Kiss" and "Absolut Antifreeze" swirl through ice "luges" into their glasses  On "Glacier Bridge," guests will enjoy snow cones with an adult touch, flavored with Chambord or Godiva chocolate liqueurs.

Cabaret in the Arctic Café will feature the music of the Joan Marks Trio. Vocalist Joan Marks, a favorite of local audiences for her performances with the Berkshire Big Band, will be accompanied by pianist Bob Shepherd and bassist Steve Murray.

Throughout the evening photographer Kevin Kennefick will offer "Freeze Frames." For $10, guests may purchase a 5x7 sepia-toned portrait of themselves posed in "the Arctic" (Bradford photo backdrops) with props. All guests participating in the photo-booth will be entered into a drawing to win ski passes donated by Jiminy Peak, the Mountain Resort. Props for "Freeze Frame" have been lent by Buzz Eichel of Dorset, VT, whose collection of antique winter sporting equipment is usually seen at the Danby Antique Center.

To extend the fun, a number of area restaurants are offering special post-gala dinner packages. Participating restaurants are: 101 North, The Orchards, Hobson's Choice, and Main Street Café in Williamstown and Canteen, Gramercy Bistro, and Eleven in North Adams. All are offering prix fixe menus at special rates; reservations are required. To reserve, contact the restaurants and mention the Clark February gala.

Immediately preceding the reception, curators Brian Allen and James Ganz will give an introductory talk about the exhibition. The 5:30 p.m. lecture is free and open to the public.

Arctic Diary features the work of American artist William Bradford (1823-1892). Bradford, an important Luminist painter, made nine trips to the Arctic Circle, which inspired his paintings of icebergs, glaciers, ships, and frigid seascapes. In 1869 he documented his journey with 141 albumen photographs published in the travelogue The Arctic Regions: Illustrated with Photographs Taken on an Art Expedition to Greenland. In 1999, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute acquired the rare album as part of its ongoing initiative to build a collection of important early photography. The album has been disbound for necessary conservation treatment, providing a unique opportunity to display the individual photographs for a wide audience. The exhibition, on view February 17-May 5, 2002, features fifty photographs from the album, as well as oil paintings by Bradford and a group of pencil, charcoal, and oil sketches. Arctic Diary also includes the canvas The Panther in Melville Bay, commissioned by Queen Victoria and currently in the British Royal Collection at Windsor Castle. The painting will be exhibited publicly for the first time.

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Admission is free now through June 1.

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